Foodography or Diners, Drive-ins and Dives one of the two programs gave me inspiration for tonight's meal. As I was watching a segment on Greece and Greek cuisine the Chef made reference to," Cinnamon and allspice is used as seasonings for all of our foods" They then proceeded to make Moussaka using only those spices to create the dish.The Chef explained," Moussaka is a very simple dish, Line the bottom of a casserole dish with sliced Fresh eggplant, add cooked ground meat seasoned with cinnamon and allspice, and top off with shredded mozzarella. Finally, Bake at 450 F for 20 min."
I took that advice and expanded on it for my dish of Moussaka. The most important advice I will try; will be the seasonings. Before assembling my casserole I browned 1/2 lb. ground beef.Crushed in four Garden fresh tomatoes. And seasoned with Tbsp ground Cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp of cloves. It is important to understand I had to fabricate Allspice. True Allspice comes from an Evergreen tree. Here's a definition from the Culinary Cafe website:
Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns.
Taste and Aroma
Allspice is pungent and fragrant. It is not a blend of "all spices," but its taste and aroma remind many people of a mix of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Once I had this seasoned meat ready it was time for the wife to do a taste test. I tried it on her and she found it favorable. I was ready to move forward. I followed a similar recipe from earlier this week that did not go over real well. I was convinced tonight's would work because she gave the seasoned meat a thumbs up.On the bottom of the casserole I placed peeled sliced eggplant that had been dredged in ranch dressing and cracker meal before frying. To the seasoned meat and tomatoes I added rice pilaf left from a meal earlier this week. I used this as the body of the casserole. Finally I topped the casserole with shredded mozzarella and baked at 450F for 20 minutes. This Moussaka was a winner.
The Allspice/Cinnamon Greek seasoning was the key to the success of My Big Fat Greek Meal.